John Lennon
The Dream is Over
(Peg Boy 1006)

It seems like every single second of John Lennon's solo career is available for those who want to slog through it … 22 volumes alone of Lost Lennon Tapes contain seemingly every false start, demo, outtake, and piece of studio jibberish Lennon ever knowingly or unknowingly committed to tape. I have a heavy-duty tolerance for this stuff, but there is no doubt that the better Lennon boots, from a less rabid point of view, are the ones that focus tightly on one project and don't belabor the point.

Now, surely I can sit through three discs of Walls and Bridges sessions with the best of 'em, but without question, The Dream is Over is more palatable on every level. Not only is it centered on some of Lennon's best material (the Plastic Ono Band album), but at one disc, it leaves you wanting more, sticking to the subject and revealing a few real gems along the way.

The set begins with a series of demos with John on guitar (usually electric) and vocals, honing the songs, which are already fairly well-formed at the earliest stage. The tremolo-drenched versions of "Love" and "Mother" are most radically different from the finished versions. An unreleased song called "When a Boy Meets a Girl" certainly had more promise than a lot of the stuff Lennon actually did record only a few years later.

Some alternate takes and mixes are included as well, which show the simple songs taking on the raw muscle of the finished album – in a couple of places, this stuff actually sounds a bit like Nirvana, strangely enough. The best track is an extended rock 'n' roll jam (nearly 11 minutes!) with the POB running through stuff like "Honey Don't," "Hound Dog," "Don't Be Cruel," and "Matchbox," but with that awesomely – okay, I guess I have to say it – primal sound. Ringo's drumming throughout is fucking great, and the medley itself makes for an unexpectedly exuberant complement to the very intimate and personal songs everyone knows well from this record.

It closes with a 1982 single remix of "Love," which is nice enough to have. My only quibble about the release overall is the paradoxically overachieving yet horribly designed packaging, characteristic of most Vigotone and Peg Boy releases. They always did right by the fans, dancing circles around the other bootleggin' bottom-feeders … but they couldn't make an appealing album cover to save their life.

Review by La Fée